Category Archives: Uncategorized

It's Not the Dishonesty That Gets Me, It's the Stupidity

I wasn't planning on following up my post from last week, but I saw another tweet by the author I criticized in it today, and I couldn't resist clicking the link to a new story he wrote:

The author in question, José Duarte, is really starting to weird me out. It's not that he keeps saying things which are untrue. I'm used to people doing that. It's not even that he says things which are obviously untrue. I'm used to people doing that too. What weirds me out is he keeps saying things anyone who looks at what he refers to would immediately see are false.

I can come up with explanations for dissembling. I can come up with explanations for lying. What I can't figure out is how to explain lying in a way everyone can easily recognize as lying. If you're going to say untrue things, shouldn't you at least try to hide it?
Continue reading

So I Was in an Accident...

I drove my car into a ditch a fwe hours ago. It was only by good fortune there were no injuries. Things could have been much worse. This worries me as I think the intersection itself guarantees people will result in people doing exactly what I did. I'm going to try to write some thoughts on this tonight while everything is fresh.

To summarize what I'm going to say, I will offer two contentions. 1) A standard four-way intersection should not be designed so that traveling in a straight line through it will result driving into a 6+ foot ditch and creating a significant risk of bodily injury. 2) Should such an intersection exist, any signage intended to warn drivers should be placed with extra care to ensure they are abundantly clear and visible. When neither of these are true, I believe an unacceptable risk of accidents is created.
Continue reading

How Can You Plagairize Something you Fabricate?

I had started writing a post about a recent example of misbehavior in climate science where a new methodological paper was published in Nature as a "comment" so as to avoid any critical review/examination of the methodologies because it had a "sexy" headline. Then I realized how pointless it was. That sort of shadiness is nothing new, and nobody really cares.

I was still in the mood to write though, and fortunately, my Twitter feed provided a perfect oddity to discuss in this tweet:

I've always held a love for words. There was even a time I wanted to become a lexicographer (basically a person who makes dictionaries). The idea a major dictionary would fabricate definitions for political purposes was so strange I had to investigate. And boy am I glad I did.
Continue reading

25,000!

It's Easier to See When it's Faster?

In response to accusations the White House was promoting an altered video created as propaganda, a White House spokesperson said, "That’s not altered. That’s sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown."

Man, I couldn't tell if the ball crossed the line or not. You know what'd help? If we sped up the footage!

"Big Victory"

Whatever your views on politics may be, I think we should all be able to get a good chuckle out of this. Now that we know Democrats have won the House, Donald Trump is going around boasting about the "Big Victory" Republicans just had.

What a world we have where it's a "Big Victory" when you lose because you didn't lose by as much as you could have.

Yes, Words Can Have Multiple Meanings

I've been sick for a little while, and while it's not too bad, it has sapped me of almost all my energy. As a result, I was hoping to lie in bed resting and casually browsing the internet without any stress or need for coherent thought. That didn't work out. Instead, I wound up involved in an incredibly dumb argument.

It all started because of an unremarkable news article which discussed plans to install more battery storage capacity in the United Kingdoms electrical grid. Battery storage is primarily used for load balancing, where batteries are charged during periods of low demand so they can provide additional energy during periods of high demand. The use of stored energy for load balancing in electrical grids is commonplace and entirely unremarkable. When the article said:

Planning applications in the UK to install just 2MW of battery storage capacity in 2012 have soared since then to a cumulative total of 6,874MW in 2018. (92% of applications for storage projects are approved first time).

It should have been viewed as an innocuous statement the same as one might see in any of a hundred news articles. Instead, a number of "Skeptics" decided it was wrong. In fact, one decided it was not just wrong, but nefarious:

Why? Because they felt they get to dictate how the word "capacity" can be used. Continue reading

But... He Didn't Say That!

I have a number of hobbies I don't typically talk about here as that's not the purpose of this site, but today I want to share something that came up due to my involvement in a gaming ocmmunity. Given the title of my last post, it seems fitting.

For a bit of context, a person made a video talking to people about a type of strategy they can use in timed matches for a card game. A different person made a response condemning the first video for openly promoting "slow play," a method of play that is against the game's rules. Here's a ~30 second video showing why I feel this is relevant.

I can't think of the last time I've seen such a blatant misrepresentation of what a person said..

But... It Doesn't Say That!

I had a post planned for today, one which is half written, but I'm going to have to call an audible. I came across something that's too weird not to discuss. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes this claim in its Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2ºC (very high confidence). The risk of irreversible loss of many marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2°C or more (high confidence). {3.4.4, Box 3.4}

This is a dramatic claim which holds (virtually) all coral reefs in the world will die. Given such a serious claim, I'd expect there to be lot of good research supporting it. Instead, it turned out not even cited portions of the IPCC report make the same claim.
Continue reading

Skeptics Will Believe Anything (Part 1?)

I was wanting to discuss a couple substantive issues with the latest IPCC report and how the review process either failed, or actually introduced new problems, but unfortunately the IPCC has not published the draft versions and reviewer comments they said they'd publish. They explain this:

Which is rather strange given the IPCC has launched a PR campaign in which it talks about how the latest report has now been published. The contradiction here doesn't seem to bother the IPCC. I've talked about it before, and I've actually contacted the IPCC directly about this issue in the past. Their response has always been to shrug it off, because apparently it is okay for the IPCC to blatantly contradict itself. Because... consensus?

I don't know what to make of the IPCC simultaenously saying this report is both published and not published. I don't know what to make of the IPCC saying draft versions can't be quoted, cited or distributed while running a PR campaign in order to get as many people to read a draft report as they can. It's weird. And perhaps more importantly, it interferes with anyone's ability to fairly judge the reports the IPCC makes. I don't know how the IPCC can "publish" its report then say it won't release its drafts and reviewer comments for months because the report isn't published. What I do know is there's a lot of material we can't effectively discuss because of it.

That all said, Skeptics don't care about this. You won't see them complaining about this. They won't complain because they don't care. Skeptics are lazy and don't actually want to examine things. They just want easy talking points they can throw around. This report is providing some perfect examples. Today, I'd like to highlight one from the big name Ross McKitrick:

This is idiotic. The highlgihted passage by the IPCC cites two trends, one from recent times and one from times long ago. As references, it cites two sources, one a temperature record of modern times and the other a temperature reconstruction of olden times. McKitrick says this is wrong because the second source, the one reconstructing temperatures thousands of years back in time, can't be used to show modern temperatures. In doing so, he simply ignores one source is a reconstruction of modern temperatures.

There are many problems with the new IPCC report, and oen could even argue this particular passage is wrong. But as long as Skeptics keep making and embracing these sort of lazy, idiotic talking points, why should anyone listen? Why should anyone care? They shouldn't. They won't.

Still, tomorrow I'll talk about a troubling issue in this IPCC report. I can't give as much context as I'd like since the IPCC knowingly makes false claims to the public, but I'll do what I can.